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correspondent kristen welker was there. she is with us tonight from the north lawn. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. trying to maintain momentum. for stiffer gun control laws in the wake of that tragedy. vice president biden met with victims' groups and gun safety organizations here at the white house today and laid down a new political marker. meeting with his gun safety task force, the vice president said the white house is prepared to act if congress does not. >> i want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything we're going to do nothing. it's critically important we act. >> reporter: sources close to the talks say among the executive actions, the president is considering expanding background checks for gun purchases. >> without an act of congress, without any help from the legislature, there isn't really that much that the executive branch can do. >> reporter: south carolina republican congressman jeff duncan released a statement sharply challenging the obama white house. the founding fathers never
's role evolve? we asked white house correspondent kristen welker to take a look. >> reporter: america may be politically divided, but most americans agree, they really like first lady michelle obama. ♪ you hit me like the sky fell on me ♪ >> reporter: public popularity on display saturday night at the kids' inaugural ball honoring military families. helping those families has been one of mrs. obama's key initiatives. >> when i think about what makes america great, i think about all of you, our men and women in uniform, our military spouses and our amazing military kids. >> reporter: her other focus, fighting childhood obesity. but as she prepares to spend another four years at the white house, some critics suggest the harvard-educated lawyer should take on more policy-heavy goals. top advisers push back. >> well, there were policies behind the initiatives that she did. >> reporter: valerie jarrett says the first lady and you her staff are working on a new agenda. >> she really is very determined to make sure that they think it through thoroughly and that they don't just do one-off thi
swearing in on inauguration day monday. kristen welker has more from the white house tonight. >> reporter: president obama kicking off his inauguration weekend by lending a hand to the nationwide day of service. >> this inauguration we're going to be, it's a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power, but it should also be an affirmation that we're all in this together. >> reporter: but there are still deep divides, including an upcoming deadline over the debt dealing which is the nation's borrowing limit. this week's top republicans offered a new plan that would increase the limit for three months and require congress to pass the budget within that time frame or else no pay. >> we're saying is we will extend the debt limit until the time line where you have a budget a road map. >> reporter: republicans are hoping that strategy will lead democrats to agree to deep spending cuts. officials close to the president say mr. obama is open to more cuts but insists he won't slash entitlements like medicare. >> ultimately we have to do it in a balanced way. he's not goi
of staff. joining me is kristen welker. >> i can tell you that jack lew has been the leading candidate for this spot. this is someone with experience in the white house and capitol hill. he served as an aide to former house speaker tip o'neal. director of the onb twice. and of course, the chief of staff to the white house, president obama, and has helped the president navigate tough policy issues including that fight over the fiscal cliff in which president obama what many consider a fight with republicans to increasing taxes on wealthier americans. so this is someone who president obama has a very good working relationship with. and, of course, this is a key moment. it's a critical moment to take over the spot as treasury secretary. because there are three big budget matters looming. of course, they're going to have to deal with the debt ceiling, the fiscal cliff and the all in the comes months. >> kristen, we look at the optics of this, the inner circle being all white men. what is the tone in washington especially since was the obama coalition that got obama in for a second term? >>
step. but it's a very meaningful breakthrough. >> kelly o'donnell, thank you so much. kristen welker is at the white house. she joins us live now. kristen, what is the word coming from the white house right now with the vice president on his way over to capitol hill to speak there in just a few minutes now? >> well, the white house not yet commenting on this deal that is coming to fruition. but they have confirmed that the vice president is heading over to the hill. and they have been saying all night that he is prepared to go over to the hill once negotiations reach this stage. so he is essentially going there to put the final stamp on this deal that kelly is reporting about, to sell it to the members of the caucus. as you mentioned, milissa, at the top of the broadcast, there has been some dissent among l.a. labor leaders. richard trumka tweeting that democrats should hold off on approving this deal. he says it's not good enough in part because the tax rates are on those who are making $400,000 or more, $450,000 or more if they're couples, and not on those who make $250,000 or more
hundreds of other hostages. joining us like from the white house, kristen welker. good saturday morning to you. the latest reaction from the administration on the hostagetaking. >> reporter: good morning. welcome to washington. the administration obviously deeply concerned about the hostagetaking. i it tell you the secretary of state, the president, have been in contact with leaders in the region since this crisis first started, and yesterday secretary of state clinton was pretty forceful in her remarks about the situation. she calmed it a terrorist act. i'll read a little what she said. let's not forget this is an act of terror. the perpetrators are the terrorist, the ones that assaulted this facility. have taken hostage algerians and others from around the world nap is her position. the state department also reiterating america's hard line it will not negotiate with terrorists. so you mentioned that there are still some americans who are being held there. the state department making it very clear there won't be any negotiations moving forward with them. the secretary of state also spo
, kristen welker, was there and is with us tonight. kristen, good evening. >> brian, good evening. it's no secret the relationship between presidents obama and karzai has been tense, but today the leaders announced they had reached some common ground while also acknowledging the end game remains unclear. president obama and afghan president hamid karzai announced a somewhat accelerated time line for u.s. troops to transfer control to the afghan forces, initially slated to occur this summer. >> starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission. training, advising, assisting afghan forces. >> reporter: the president delivered a blunt assessment of the mission. for the 66,000 americans who will still provide logistic support, transportation, and air cover. >> that doesn't mean that coalition forces, including u.s. forces, are no longer fighting. they will still be fighting alongside afghan troops. >> reporter: left unsaid today, how many american troops, if any, will remain after 2014? the official end of the combat mission. >> i can't give you a precise number at this point
kristen welker. she was watching and covering it all from her vantage point at the white house. for a look at this second term as first family. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. it's impossible not to marvel at how much the first daughters have grown. i'd say they're feeling really comfortable in their surroundings, and they, along with the first lady, are looking forward to another four years here at the white house. ♪ an intimate moment on the world's biggest stage. cameras capture the obama girls sharing a laugh. and america's first lady just being a mom. >> her main focus is just doing the very best she can for her daughters. >> malia and sasha are perhaps the best markers of the passage of time from their father's first inauguration when malia was 10 and sasha 7, so small she stood on a box, stealing the show with this thumb's up for her dad. to today when she was slightly less enthusiastic. now facing their teen and preteen years, their parents have worked hard to make the white house a normal home. >> they're doing beautifully, and i think the fact th
this second term. white house correspondent kristen welker is there for us tonight. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. one of those fights will involve gun control. in fact, tonight the white house is monitoring that shooting in the houston area. but here in washington, economic issues still top the list of things that need to be addressed. an invigorated president obama joined in a prayer service this morning. and this afternoon, along with the first lady and bo, surprise supporters, a moment captured by the white house and streamed on the web. on monday, resolve, defending entitlements and calling for action on climate change and gay rights, a broad liberal agenda. >> but we reject the belief that america must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. >> reporter: the president, once criticized by his own party's left for caving into republicans, seemed emboldened by his reelection and ready for a fight. >> yesterday's speech at the capitol was not about bipartisanship. it was about
in on inauguration day monday. the expectations are high and nbc's kristen welker is at the white house to tell us more, kristen? >> reporter: lester, good evening. president obama has knocked out an ambitious second-term agenda, including gun reform and immigration, but if he wants to accomplish those goals he'll have to act quickly. president obama kicking off his inauguration weekend by lending a hand to the nationwide day of service. >> this inauguration we're going to be, it's a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power, but it should also be an affirmation that we're all in this together. >> reporter: but there are still deep divides, including an upcoming deadline over the debt ceiling which is the nation's borrowing limit. this week's top republicans offered a new plan that would increase the limit for three months and require congress to pass the budget within that time frame or else no pay. >> so we're saying is, we will extend the debt limit until the timeline where you have a budget, a road map. >> reporter: republicans are hoping that strategy will ultimat
from our white house correspondent, kristen welker. >> reporter: another school shooting today. this one at a high school in rural kern county, california, leaving two wounded and a shotgun suspect in custody. >> i don't know why someone would go into a school and hurt innocent people. just with what happened last month. >> reporter: while in a conference room across the country at the white house, vice president biden continued exploring ways to deal with the issue of gun violence. >> there's a real, very tight window to do this. >> reporter: today his passports heard from gun rights groups, retailers who have seen an uptick in sales since the shooting and a representative from the national rifle association. >> there is a surprising -- so far -- a surprising recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks. >> reporter: but there was little sign that the white house and the nra found any common ground. after today's meeting, harsh words from the nra's president. >> the administration was able to check the box and say they talked to the representatives of fir
correspondent kristen welker. welcome both. kristen, what is the white house, breathing a huge sigh of relief now that they've reeled chuck schumer in on the hagel mom nation? >> this is hugely important. a lot of people looking to chuck schumer to see how he would come down on this issue. i think one of the key parts of the statement that chuck schumer announced was that he doesn't believe that some of these answers that hagel had given are just because he is in line to become the next defense secretary. he asked some questions about iran, his position on israel, and chuck schumer today coming out and saying that he feels confident that hagel is in line with where the president stands on these things, that he is willing to act unilaterally when it comes to iran and not take any options off the table, and that his position has changed because he understands that israel is now in really a defense position and is in a different place than when he made some of the those comments a few years ago. that will be the key moving forward, and, again, a lot of people looking to see what chuck schumer ha
white house correspondent kristen welker joins us now with more. kristen? >> reporter: lester, good evening. today's rally was organized by advocacy groups, one million moms for gun control. it was a day filled with emotion but also reality. the nation is still sharply divided when it comes to guns. a ground swell of support for stiffer gun laws and thousands rallied in washington to call for change in the wake of the newtown shooting, holding signs bearing the names of those lost and speaking their minds. >> no more. it's time to do something about it. >> we can and must free our nation of this scourge of gun violence. >> reporter: among the crowds mothers who have lost children to guns, elected officials, and parents from the newtown community. >> we're grieving but hopeful that something so atrocious can bring about some change. >> reporter: smaller gun control rallies across the nation today including this one in new jersey. >> i think newtown has been a real turning point for me. the real turning point was having to tell my son. >> reporter: gun buybacks in california and in se
up for another big battle, craig. this vacation will not last very long. >> kristen welker with a whole lot of day left in hawaii. i expect you have plans as well. good luck, kristen. >> thanks, craig. >> out with the old and in with the new. we're not just talking about out with the old and in with the new. we're not just talking about the fights on the horizon that will include a few familiar faces and washington post ed o'keefe, good afternoon to you, gentlemen. >> gentlemen. >> ed, the end of 2012, all about the fiscal cliff. right now we're talking about the debt ceiling discussion ahead. how tough of a fight is president obama going to be coming home will to? >> oh, a very tough one because republicans now determined more than ever to get spending cuts as part of the fiscal deal on the fiscal cliff. the president said he's not negotiating over it and the new congress began making it very clear that spending cuts will be what they focus on like a laser in the coming months as negotiations continue. mitch mcconnell look at the incoming class of house republicans as well
restrictions. from the white house, nbc's kristen welker has more tonight. >> reporter: a month after the newtown shooting, gun stores tell nbc news they have seen an uptick in sales. owners stocking up out of fear the obama administration will impose stiffer laws. in december, the national instant criminal background check system reported 2.2 million background checks were performed last month, in increase of about 58% over the same period in 2011. >> you all know this is a complicated issue. >> reporter: and it is against this backdrop that the vice president is wrapping up his gun safety task force. >> federal weapons trafficking statute to universal background checks to making more widely available mental health assistance. >> reporter: there are more proposals, including the controversial reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, and limiting access to high capacity clips. earlier in the wee biden butted heads with the national rifle association over those issues. >> the vice president and his folks are focusing primarily on firearms ownership, and what we consider second amendme
this morning. he has a busy week ahead of him. let's go to nbc's kristen welker in a dark, early honolulu. we hear the beach there. good morning. >> it's there. >> it's there. i can hear it. i'm thinking about it. what was his reaction to the passing of the scaled down version of the relief bill? what are his plans to rent another voting debacle in congress? >> reporter: good morning, alex. white house officials say that the president is pleased that congress passed the first round of relief aid. having said that you are absolutely right, the bulk of it, $51 billion needs to be passed, so the president the white house, pressuring the congress to get it passed quickly on the 15th of the month. and president obama reached out to governor chris christie, governor cuomo and reiterated support for the relief package. i expect him to engage in similar outreach and speak publicly about it. release a statement about getting it done. and so many officials there in that region have stressed this is vital to the folks who are really still suffering in the wake of hurricane sandy. you will s
a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own. >> kristen welker is at the white house. a very good start morning to you. let's talk about the details that the president revealed about the future role of the u.s. in afghanistan. >> good morning to you, alex. the big headline that came out of the joint news conference between president obama and hamid karzai. both leaders agreed to accelerate the transition process, handing over control of an began forces earlier. it will happen in the spring. a little bit more of what president obama had to say of the role of u.s. forces will be, once that transition happens. take a listen. >> starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission. training, advising, assisting, afghan forces. it will be an historic moment, and another step toward full afghan sovereignty. >> now, alex, the big question that remains unanswered, what happens after 2014? that is, of course, the official end of combat operations in afghanistan. earlier this week, the white house had signalled that president obama might be open to having zero troops in afgha
the road are going to come together in a confluence at that point. >> all right, thank you, kristen welker joins us now, what you hearing? >> reporter: well, i can tell you, sources say that president obama is waiting to hear what happens in that meeting, that the vice president is happening right now with the democratic leaders. he has monitored the negotiations all night long. he has reached out to majority leader reid, and nancy pelosi, to sign off. they gave it. so the white house right now feeling quite confident about this agreement that has been reached. of course, we're talking about the opposition that has been emerging from the left, including labor leaders, he says it is not good enough, why? because the tax rates are not the ones that president obama campaigned on. remember the president campaigned saying that he wanted to see taxes going up on those making $250,000 or more. this of course raises taxes on people making $400,000 or more, if you're single, $450,000 for a couple. so folks on the left saying this is not good enough. but the white house, mitch mcconnell, vice presid
to nbc's kristen welker at the white house. tell us what you are hearing from your sources there? >> good evening, milissa. according to chuck todd, breaking details from that meeting that vice president biden just had. no one in the meeting said they were planning to vote against this bull once it does move through the senate, it doesn't mean they won't. they didn't voice opposition during that meeting, so that is significant this idea there is some liberal revolve doesn't seem to be coming to the floor, the vice president's agreement received very well. and speculation it could get as many as 80 votes. the vice president putting to caucus members this way. the second part of a three-part process. first was the budget control act. this deals with the issue of taxes, something that president obama has been talking since 2008. campaigned on this issue in 2012, and the third part will be that march trifecta, when you are going to have both the budget to deal with as well as the debt ceiling and the sequester issue, which will come back again, those are some of the details my colleague, chuc
will. i want to go to nbc's kristen welker who is at the white house. kristen, we were just hearing about the mood in the senate tonight. what is the mood at the white house? >> well, milissa, good evening. i think the mood at the white house is hopeful. they are still optimistic that a deal is going to get done. i can tell you that senior administration officials continued to be huddled in meetings here at the white house, continued to be in close contact with folks on the hill as these negotiations move forward. one development that we have gotten in the past hour, milissa, is some opposition to this deal that is emerging. and it is coming from union leaders. president of the afl-cio richard trumka just tweeted this. it's not a good fiscal cliff deal if it give morse tax cuts to 2% and sets the stage for, in his words, quote, hostage-taking. he is voicing the concern that because the taxes only apply or go up on those making $400,000 or more and $450,000 if you're a couple, that essentially it's not hitting enough people. and he is voicing the concern that there might be deep cuts
a meeting -- nbc white house correspondent kristen welker joins us now with the details of the meeting. kristen, tell us the latest. >> good afternoon, alex. the key topic of conversation here this afternoon at the white house is that timeline for troop withdraw. i can tell you that we don't expect president obama to announce actual numbers when he addresses the nation during a joint news conference a little bit later on this afternoon along with afghan president hamid karzai, but the question is how many troops will remain after 2014? for the very first time this week the white house signalled that the president was open to having a zero troop presence in afghanistan after 2014. a lot of people wondering if they're just saying that as a bargaining chip or if the president is actually considering that. some commanders have suggested that the troops remain at a level of 6,000 to 15,000. right now there are 66,000 troops in afghanistan. either way, alex, it appears as though the white house is leaning toward a more scaled back troop presence after that date. now, the white house feels it
the constitution." nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house. and she joins us now. good morning to you, kristen. >> reporter: good morning, luke. >> so vice president joey biden is going to eric cantor's richmond, virginia, today, part of this push by the white house that they're doing in their second term to take the campaign on the road. what do they hope to accomplish in richmond, virginia, on this topic of gun control legislation? >> reporter: well, luke, this is really the first in what will be a campaign-style push to get those stiff gun measures passed, that you just talked about. the obama administration has sort of taken this tactic in the past, during the payroll tax cut fight, during the student loan fight, really circumventing congress and trying to build a ground swell of support among the people, to pressure congress to get what it wants to get done passed. so in this case, that is the stiffer gun law. so you're going to see vice president biden out today, holding that roundtable, talking about gun legislation. he'll be joined by his cabinet secretaries as well as a democ
at and a guy you can laugh with. >> reporter: part of that appeal is just joe being joe. >> kristen welker, nbc news, washington. >> check your local listings. >>> still ahead, "david letterman" in his most candid interview yet about his battle with depression and the guilt he felt after cheating on his wife. first, these messages. you, hang up first. no, you!! [ female announcer ] after school, get to pizza pleasin' faster than mandy can hang up on mr. monday. you hang up first. [ female announcer ] in just 60 seconds, you've got snack-defying, satisfying totino's pizza rolls. [ ringing ] it's on. let's roll. [ rain pattering ] [ heels clicking ] [ female announcer ] yoplait light tastes great now... ♪ ...and feels great later 20 delicious flavors of yoplait light, now at 90 calories each. yoplait, it is so good! making a sunday appearance to alk about how he lost so much off as well. >>> jenna travels into the spirit world. first, these messages. [ male announcer ] house rule number 53. big time taste should fit in a little time cup. new single serve cafe collections from maxwell house now
that the country has heard in decades. joining me now from the white house, nbc news correspondent kristen welker. any idea of what type of ambitious, we keep hearing these words being tossed around, big, bold, ambitious. what that's going to be and whether or not the president will also be using this opportunity to respond to that new ad the nra has out, featuring the first daughters? >> reporter: to your first point about that ad, i don't know if president obama is going to address it. we did just get a comment from the white house. i will read that to you. this is from the white house press secretary, jay carney, who says quote, most americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight, but to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly. that is a reaction to this ad that the nra just released today. take a look at the ad. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools? when his kids are protected by armed gua
to invoke the constitution's 14th amendment. it's the big question, nbc news' kristen welker joins me. i understand you have a highlighter in your hand to display the seriousness of what it would mean to invoke the 14th amendment. >> the 14th amendment is very complicated. i want to make sure i'm covering my basis to give everyone a quick explainer of what it is and it goes to the post-civil war era and it is in the expansive rights of the civil war and there is a part of it that deals with the nation's did not and that's where this highlighter comes in. and it states, quote, the validity of the public debt of the united states shall not be questioned. that is the part of the 14th amendment that those senators that you just referenced are seizing on to say that the president should increase the debt limit without the help of congress. the congress has been asked about this. the white house, the reaction from the white house is that they don't believe that they have the right to use the 14th amendment to increase the debt ceiling without congress. they say they're not going go that route
to the president as early as tuesday for ways to prevent gun violence moving forward. kristen welker joins us with more on that. let's start out with what we can expect to come, again, this tuesday deadline is pretty self-imposed by the gun task force and the president himself, and all of them trying to make the president's state of the union when it comes up at the end of the month. >> reporter: that's right. we're expecting the vice president to put forth a broad set of proposals including legislative proposals that will call for reinstating the ban on assault weapons, limiting access to high-capacity magazines. one of the ideas that's moving to the forefront, though, thomas is the idea of having universal background checks. that would mean anyone who buys a gun at a gun show, online, out of the back of a van would have to have a background check in order for it to be legal. we also expect the vice president to put forth some proposals that would enhance access to mental health services as well as dealing with the issue of the pervasiveness of glor feig violence in the media. now, all of th
things safe in a classroom. >> nbc's kristen welker is outside the white house for us. on the very last day of his first term we saw him out earlier working at that school for the national day of service. besides that, how is he preparing for the big day tomorrow and the bigger day, perhaps, on monday. >> reporter: craig, i can tell you that he's behind the scenes working hard on the big address that he will deliver on monday. in fact, a senior administration official tells me he has a strong working draft that you would expect just a few days out from delivering such a large speech, and i am told he's putting the finishing touches on that with his speech team here at the white house. don't expect a big policy address. this is going to be about the president's larger vision for where he wants to take his country over the next four years. will he mention immigration, gun control, some of the fiscal challenges that washington is facing potentially? but i think you are going to hear the president speak in broader themes and one of the big themes that he's really going to focus on, craig, i
's kristen welker is at the white house. nbc news senior political editor mark murray standing by with new insight from the new nbc news wall street journal poll. let me start with you. for folks who may not get this, a lot of folks wondering why is the president -- he's going to be sworn in on sunday and sworn in again on monday. what's the deal? >> reporter: well, craig, the reason is that the constitution states that the president has to be sworn in before noon on january 20th. january 20th falls on a sunday this year. it's the seventh time that happened in the nation's history so president obama will be officially sworn in here at the white house in a private ceremony in the blue room with families and chief justice john roberts. the day will begin with vice president biden getting sworn in by justice sotomayor. that's happening at a different time than president obama because we are told according to several officials that the chief justice at the justice department has done investigating on this, and some reporting on this, apparently biden wants justice sotomayor to swear him in. th
. david gregory, moderator of "meet the press," nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker and justice correspondent pete williams. a loot going on all fronts. denis mcdonough, and news out of the white house on the secret service skrefgs in cart hana. >> that's right. andrea, well, i'll first start with the breaking news. according to a source from the hill and also law enforcement source the inspector general has finished its report on the secret service scandal and specifically the secret service's own investigation into that scandal. we are told that that report will be sent to the hill a little later on today. it includes the agency did implement proper reforms. that is what we are being told at this point in time, but, again, andrea, this is developing. there are a lot of moving parts. we will undoubtedly learn more as the day goes on. in terms of denis mcdonough, president obama did announce today that denis mcdonough will become his new chief of staff. he is one of the president's most trusted aides, most recently serving as the deputy national security advisor, but
control in virginia. kristen welker is at the white house and joins me now. when can we expect the president thoims ta himself to take the gun control debate on the road? >> reporter: i think you can expect president obama to hit the road and talk about gun control in the next several days, if not weeks. the white house has said that he as well as vice president biden will continue to leave the white house, get out of d.c. and build up public support for the proposals that president obama unveiled several days ago. of course, those proposals include increasing and improving access to mental health services, reinstating the assault weapons ban and limiting high-capacity magazines as well as enacting universal background checks. common knowledge around here, craig, is that a lot of those have a good chance of actually getting passed through congress with the exception of that reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. senator dianne feinstein introduced a tough bill to ban assault weapons this week and even she said it will be a tough uphill battle and there is still fierce opposi
january. nbc's kristen welker at the white house. always good to see you. hello and tell us how big of a setback is this for the administration? i guess what do we do next? >> reporter: great to see you as well, t.j. this is certainly a setback for the obama administration. the white house sharply criticizing this ruling and pointing to the fact that presidents going back 150 years have engaged in appointments, recess appointments. ronald reagan made more than 200. george w bush made more than 100. at issue in this instance is the senate technically in recess when they are in a pro forma session. pro forma means that senators aren't really here. they're not getting any work done. but they are gaveling into session every few days. the obama administration has argued that means that the senate is in recess. this court ruled otherwise and disagreed with the obama administration. republicans are praising this ruling. today they are saying it was the right ruling and that president obama really engaged in overreach when he made those appointments. so to your second question, t.j., what h
and consumption. >> kristen welker. honolulu. kristen, thank you so much. we'll check in with you later. >>> one piece of good news for president obama from the victory in 2012, it's officially in the books. the election that dominated the airwaves finally came to a close friday when a joint session of congress led by vice president joe biden confirmed the 332 lech ral votes for president obama. so who will be the next lawmaker to receive that same honor? joining me now, brian bointler and amy stoddard from the hill. thanks for coming in on a saturday. amy, let me start with you. a few weeks ago, this conversation was all about hillary clinton, but there are other names making news right now. let's start with a man we just saw, america's happy warrior, vice president joe biden had a good week. age might be a factor, though, but can we discount the role he's played in the most important fiscal deal of the last few years? >> no, we can't, and i think he's underrated. i think he's underappreciated. he is the subject of many jokes as everyone knows. >> he's had one or two, but he has clearly been ju
inaugural. let's go to nbc's kristen welker who's joining me live from the white house with more on this. kristen, as we look at you and the president with his painting job, i know the white house is getting ready for this big weekend. but it is in the middle of this very important -- it's personally oriented, this day, for the president and his wife, isn't it? >> reporter: it really is not only because they were dedicated to doing something of this nature, but this inauguration will fall on martin luther king day. there's a lot of symbolism in that. president obama will be sworn in using one of martin luther king's bibles. this day is not expected to spark the huge, unprecedented crowds we saw in 2009. but it's not going to be small. hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out to kick off this historic weekend. as washington gears up for the nation's biggest party, people from all around the country are arriving, ready to celebrate. >> it's just one of those things i think you should do. and it's one of the things -- it's on my -- on the bucket list. >> we believe that he does hold t
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